- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2015

Capitol security leaders said Thursday that they will not have enough money in fiscal 2015 to provide protection for the pope’s visit to Congress later this year, saying the event could cause them to “take a hit financially.”

“That is a huge event and something frankly that goes above and beyond our budget,” said Kim Dine, chief of the Capitol Police, at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

Pope Francis is expected to visit the Capitol on Sept. 24 during his trip to the United States, which will also include stops in Philadelphia and New York.

Mr. Dine said they expect “very, very large crowds” to line the streets of Washington for the pope’s visit, possibly even surpassing the crowds that typically gather for a presidential inauguration.

Frank Larkin, the Senate sergeant at arms, said Capitol forces would work with local police to ensure everyone remains safe.

“The fact is, no one police department in D.C. can lift the strain of this visit alone, so it really requires a significant mutual aid effort,” he said. “It all needs to be coordinated in order to address what we expect to be a mass of humanity that will show up for this event.”

He also said Capitol security forces could be called upon to help out at papal events in other cities because of their familiarity with these types of events from inaugurations to protests to major concerts with thousands of people.

“We could very well be asked to contribute personnel to other cities such as Philadelphia and New York just by virtue of the fact that our police officers here are very familiar with these types of events,” he said.

• Jacqueline Klimas can be reached at jklimas@washingtontimes.com.

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